Dark Angel Chapter 31


by Nightsong

The Starfire

Hyperspace was a bright, swirling thing, it seemed. The science behind its appearance was beyond most explanation, but it certainly made for a beautiful – if somewhat dizzying – sight.

Darrell glanced at his partial reflection in the window he’d been staring through, brushing irritably at a few strands of his neck-length hair that had dared remove themselves from his ponytail, and sighed as he turned to regard Terra.

“These new clothes are a godsend, I suppose, but what I wouldn’t give for a haircut.”

Terra chuckled as she looked him over from her seat in the ship’s main recreational cabin. “I don’t know, it suits you. Works with the jacket, anyway.”

Darrell rolled his eyes and took a seat across from her. “I guess it looks okay. At least we had a chance to clean up at all; we were all looking like war orphans.”

“Suppose we were war orphans, after a fashion.” Meryl broke in as she entered the room, followed closely by Cynewulf. “Thank the powers that be for warm showers, though. I wish I’d never gotten out of mine.”

“Heh.” Darrell glanced through the door they’d come through as the two Seekers took a seat. “Where are Mathiu and Kayla at, anyway? I figured they’d want to be around while we talked about our plans.”

“Kayla insisted on watching those two traitors of ours,” Cynewulf said, his cybernetic eye momentarily flickering, “and Mathiu, lovesick child that he is, insisted on staying with her.”

“Damn it. She’ll never be any good to us if she doesn’t snap out of her little funk, and he’s as good as worthless as long as she is.” Darrell shook his head.

Terra gave Darrell an incredulous look. “Have a heart, Darrell, honestly. Poor girl’s been through hell.”

“And we haven’t? This is a war, Terra. If a person can’t take the damage that goes with that, they should stay out of it entirely.”

The purple-haired woman just shook her head and turned her gaze to the window, firmly away from Darrell.

Cynewulf waited a moment in hopes that the tension would ease itself, but it was to no avail. “Alright, then…” he said, clearing his throat. “Let’s get our plans straight here.”

“Possibly an explanation of why we’re going back to Zion, that would be nice.” Terra said, half-muttering.

“That’s fairly straightforward.” Cynewulf said, rubbing the back of his one head with one hand. “This ship does have the stuff we need to track lavoids, that much is true. However, if we want to track a specific lavoid, we’re going to need some of its genetic material; something for the tracker to sniff out, if you will. Only place I can think of to get that is at the source; he’ll have left something behind we can get at.”

“And from there, I presume, it’s a straight jump to the lavoid.” Meryl leaned back in her seat, her posture belying the graveness of her expression. “Unless anyone here can think of anything else to increase our chances at a win.”

Darrell grinned a bit and shook his head. “Between myself and our cyborg friend here, I’d say the odds are already excellent.”


“Well well well, Mr. Shard. Welcome to Torlose,” the man muttered, grinning as he looked about him. “It has been quite some time since we’ve been here.”

He walked alone in the center of Newpark City’s massive political district. The crowds were about average for midday, and he was entirely ignored. That was fine with him; he took great pride in being unnoticed.

His name was William Shard. He was an average-looking, rather nondescript man with short blonde hair and a sharp, well-trimmed goatee. He was extremely well-toned, certainly, but he hid this fact beneath a bulky jacket and loose-fitting clothing popular to the city whose streets he walked.

He slowed and stopped as he came before one building. It was low and squat, but surrounded with an electrified fence. A sign sat just in front of the main gate, reading ‘Roade Labs.’

“More like Vanhele Labs, these days.” He said with a grin, pulling tight the gloves over his hands again. Just the place he was looking for. “Now then, shall it be through the main gate, or over the fence? The fence is certainly faster but, ah, so many people around during the day.” He cocked his head for a moment, turning slightly to regard the man at the gate. A fairly average-looking soldier, armed with a plasma rifle that Shard would wager had never been fired outside the range. “I suppose I feel chatty today: the gate it is.”

In scarcely a heartbeat, the man had taken another step and was at the guard’s side. Grinning widely as he saw he was still unnoticed, he tapped on his shoulder. “Excuse me, good sir.”

The guard fairly leapt off the ground at the greeting, bringing his rifle to bear nervously as he turned to face William. “Wha… I…. what is your business here?” he stuttered, somewhat short of breath.

“Why, my good man, I have an appointment with Senator Vanhele.” He flashed a charming smile and slipped his hands deep inside his jacket pockets. “Why else would I be here?”

The guard blinked, lowering his rifle cautiously and looking honestly confused. “I don’t remember being told anything about that… may I see your papers?”

William smiled again, and his dark eyes seemed to glitter for a moment. “I already showed you my papers, remember? You’ve been working too hard, officer.”

he nodded slowly, as if digesting this information. “Past time for my break, really. You go on through, buddy, looks like everything’s in order.”

A wide smile still on his face, William patted the guard on the back and walked on through the front gates.



Thousands of years ago, the cityscape that greeted the morning sun had been known as New York. It had been a center of trade on Old Jerusalem in those days of men: a center of power as well when the world had united as one autonomous government. It had been the birthplace of the Lavoid Project on Earth, and it had been there that the first blood of the Lavoid ascension had been spilled.

All traces of that ancient city had been ripped away now, stone and glass and steel thrown away to make room for more efficient biological materials. The Great Hive, as a result, had not been built, but grown. It was a hideous and glorious monument to Lavoid ingenuity.

The tallest of these spiked, wide-based towers was home to a seething fury this day, a Chaos-fueled rage that all on the planet could feel. It burned white-hot in the minds of the lavoids, and all tried to stay as far away as feasibly possible from it.

After all, the rage of Pyriorias was even more legendary than the Second Fall itself.

“Do not question me, Kalar. Simply do not.”

Kalar was a Class A lavoid, and unaccustomed to being in any role other than command. However, when faced with the Lavoid Queen, one did not protest.

“I understand your necessity, my Queen. It is simply that the weapon you entrusted to me is necessary to my fleet’s survival. Why, just last month there was an assassination attempt made in the Unexplored Sectors, and-“

Pyriorias almost glowed with power, her eyes narrow. “Who do you think you're speaking to?  I will hear no more.  Do not make me ask again.”

“Yes, my Queen.”

Black energy twisted around him, and for several long moments nothing occurred. Then ever so slowly, a black sword began to shift into view, almost like a mirage in the Lavoid’s hands.

The Muramasa, it was called. It was a long, double-edged sword, wrought of a fine black metal alloy that was similar to steel, yet infinitely stronger. One side of the blade was edged with adamantine, and the other was edged with a coating of crystain – bane of all lavoid and planeswalker-kind. Pyriorias would have admired the admittedly fine weapon, had she not seen it many times before. Indeed, she had been the one who ordered it crafted, in response to a very unique situation several hundred years ago.

“Very good, Kalar. I see you have taken care of it. Perhaps you will outlast the day, after all.” Her will reached out suddenly, and before Kalar had time to blink, the Muramasa was gone and in her hands. Its balance was perfect, as always; its size adjusted to best fit each user. In her hands, it was a greatsword; in, say, a human’s, it might be no more than a simple foil. The magic inhabiting it was strong; indeed, it was one of Pyriorias’ more unique triumphs.

Many years ago – though but a blink of an eye for one such as the Lavoid Queen – a small group of finori had made the mistake of coming to Earth. While she admired the ingenuity they had displayed in doing it – actually pinpointing their insertion point enough to shift from another dimension’s version of Earth directly onto the surface – she had been aware of them from the start.

They had been what was left of their race’s High Council, the most powerful magic-users the finori race could muster, and almost all that the race itself had left.

Almost all were killed before Pyriorias even arrived on the scene.

By the time their vain struggle had been stopped, there was only one in even vaguely stable condition.

Exactly what they’d thought they could accomplish in their useless strike, the Lavoid would never know. She sensed that accomplishment had not been what drove them from the smoldering ruins of their homes – destroyed along with their race by the Lavoids – but simply a desire to die with some vestiges of honor.

All but one, sadly, were granted this, thanks to her hot-headed followers. The last, however, had become a valuable tool in Pyriorias’ corrupting grasp.

“Lago.” She said simply, and the blue-skinned thing that had been a finori appeared before her.

“My Queen.” The being croaked simply, bowing its head. “You have summoned me. Where would you have me wielded?”

“You will be working with a new partner from now on, my pet. A slight matter of annoyance has drawn my attention, and you shall be the hand that smashes it.” Pyriorias allowed herself a slight smirk as she snapped her fingers. Immediately, another blue-skinned figure entered the room. This one had once been human, it was apparent, though there was little of that left. Nor was it precisely farilii, however; its mutations seemed more extreme than that. Its head spikes fairly writhed like living things, and stretched down to its waist, and its eyes sparkled purple. The Lavoid Queen held out one hand as though in introduction. “Lago, this is my Hunter-Killer, Berial. He will be your wielder in this.”

Berial nodded slightly at Lago as he went to one knee. “It honors me to spill blood for you, my Queen. You need but speak the name, and that life will be extinguished.”

Pyriorias nodded, grinning wickedly now as she handed him the sword in her hands, hilt-first. As he took it, it shifted forms into that of a long-bladed katana. “I know, pet. I know.

“The target is Darrell Shanning.”


“Oh, come now, Vanhele, you old codger. I didn’t come all this way to hear you stumble over your little doubts and half-replies. I came for a yes!”

William Shard sat behind Vanhele’s own desk, feet propped up and a cigarette in his mouth. Standing across from him in front of a hastily-closed door was a very flustered Teryl Vanhele.

“What do you expect, Mr… Shard, was it? I’ve never seen you before in my life, yet here you are sitting at my desk and telling me wild stories about information from a lost age. How would you react?”

The blonde-haired man chuckled and took a long drag on his cigarette. “Why, my good Senator, I believe I would react as though I had just been offered my very own holy grail, for display on my mantelpiece. And if you are doubtful, all it will cost you is a few men, a few ships, and a week or two to verify what I’m telling you.”

Vanhele shook his head. “It all just seems a bit too randomly benign to me. A mysterious stranger shows up in my office without an appointment, and offers me something anyone in the galaxy would pay millions for? What do you gain from all this?”

Afterward, Vanhele would realize he had no conscious memory of Shard ever moving from his seat, but even so he found the man standing not an inch from his face a heartbeat later, his eyes twinkling strangely.

“I assure you, Senator, I only want what is best for the Planetary Union. You can trust your old friend William, can’t you?”

The older man started a confused nod for a moment, then froze in mid-movement and stumbled back into the wall, one hand going up in front of his face. “What… what was that? Get out of my head.”

Shard laughed at that, then took another step forward and was beside Vanhele once more. His eyes retained that eerie glow. “Why, you’re more willful than I thought you’d be, Teryl my boy. Guess I’ll actually have to concentrate to make this all work out. After all…”

Vanhele’s attention slipped for several seconds at this, and he slipped into a very quiet and happy reverie.

“…Isn’t that right, sir?” The senator blinked and looked up at the voice. It was only William, his advisor.

“I’m sorry, William, could you repeat that? I was lost in my thoughts there for a moment.”

Shard grinned, waving away the explanation with one hand. “Quite alright, Teryl, happens to me all the time. I was just saying we should go ahead and get a crew over to Didylos for the excavation of the supercomputer Raziel I was telling you about in our meeting earlier…”


"Most people have to act roles given to them. Then again, most of them haven't even noticed they're even acting."
- Delita from FFT.

Chapter 32

Nightsong's Fanfiction